Moe resident Danielle Schultz is using her experience with Crohn’s disease to help others.
Ms Schultz enlisted the help of Traralgon-based author Grace Griffith to write a book titled But You Look Okay detailing 19 Australians’ experience with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
The publication of But You Look Okay shares raw personal stories, but also serves as an informative read for those suffering from IBD and their families.
Ms Schultz said many people are not aware of IBD and that it can be perceived as a lot less serious because the effects are not visible.
“Individuals dealing with these diseases may not look sick to others,” Ms Schultz said.
“Yet, their chronic inflammatory disease can be wreaking havoc on their insides, resulting in agonising pain, malnutrition, exhaustion, diarrhoea, and a myriad of other issues inside and outside of their digestive tract.
“Fighters and survivors of these invisible diseases deserve to have their voice heard.
“By creating this book, I want others to know they aren’t alone in their journey, and also aim to give family and friends of sufferers tools to help.”
Ms Schultz said the release of But You Look Okay was step one in her “grand plan” for IBD awareness.
Proceeds from the book will go to buying bears with ostomy bags for young people with IBD, care packs and purchase of medication for those people who do not qualify for a healthcare card.
“I am starting a non-for-profit foundation called the IBD Warriors Fund which will be up and running on July 1 of this year,” Ms Schultz said.
“We have already purchased 50 bears that we will take to The Royal Children’s Hospital and local hospitals on May 19 because that is Crohn’s Awareness Day.”
Ms Schultz said the book has been a “labour of love” and that she and Ms Griffith worked hard to have the book published before Crohn’s Awareness Day.
Ms Griffith said the book is an all-inclusive read for people suffering from IBD or want to learn more about it.
“It’s a very candid, raw look at the lives of people suffering from IBD and how it has touched every aspect of their lives, good and bad,” Ms Griffith said.
“It strives to break down the stigma surrounding the embarrassing nature of the disease too, such as diarrhoea and stoma bags, and invites people to talk more openly about their bowel habits.”
But You Look Okay is available for sale online, in paperback and hardcover, at www.butyoulookok.org.